The catalytic activity of the Src family kinases is required to disrupt cadherin-dependent cell-cell contacts

D W Owens, G W McLean, A W Wyke, C Paraskeva, E K Parkinson, M C Frame, V G Brunton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Despite the importance of epithelial cell contacts in determining cell behavior, we still lack a detailed understanding of the assembly and disassembly of intercellular contacts. Here we examined the role of the catalytic activity of the Src family kinases at epithelial cell contacts in vitro. Like E- and P-cadherin, Ca(2+) treatment of normal and tumor-derived human keratinocytes resulted in c-Yes (and c-Src and Fyn), as well as their putative substrate p120(CTN), being recruited to cell-cell contacts. A tyrosine kinase inhibitor with selectivity against the Src family kinases, PD162531, and a dominant-inhibitory c-Src protein that interferes with the catalytic function of the endogenous Src kinases induced cell-cell contact and E-cadherin redistribution, even in low Ca(2+), which does not normally support stable cell-cell adhesion. Time-lapse microscopy demonstrated that Src kinase inhibition induced stabilization of transiently formed intercellular contacts in low Ca(2+). Furthermore, a combination of E- and P-cadherin-specific antibodies suppressed cell-cell contact, indicating cadherin involvement. As a consequence of contact stabilization, normal cells were unable to dissociate from an epithelial sheet formed at high density and repair a wound in vitro, although individual cells were still motile. Thus, cadherin-dependent contacts can be stabilized both by high Ca(2+) and by inhibiting Src activity in low (0.03 mM) Ca(2+) in vitro.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)51-64
Number of pages14
JournalMolecular Biology of the Cell
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2000


  • Actins
  • Biological Transport
  • Cadherins
  • Calcium
  • Catalysis
  • Cell Communication
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Cytoskeleton
  • Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Epithelial Cells
  • Humans
  • Keratinocytes
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-fyn
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-yes
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins pp60(c-src)
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured
  • src-Family Kinases

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